A Year For Equality: LGBT Victories Of The Past Year
In the year that’s passed since President Obama announced his support for gay marriage, enormous progress has been made in the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. States are rapidly legalizing same-sex marriage, while the Supreme Court deliberates the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). LGBT athletes have made waves by coming out in sports long regarded as heteronormative, and while many worry that the current focus on same-sex marriage represents a narrow vision of LGBT politics, some progress has also been made on transgender rights and cultural visibility. The images and achievements of LGBT activists below give a brief recap of a year for equality:
Obama Announced Support for Gay Marriage
Barack Obama became the first president in the history of the United States to publicly state his support for gay marriage.
Places All Over the World Legalized Same-Sex Marriage
During the November 2012 elections, Maine, Maryland and Washington all voted for same-sex marriage, and the state government of Maryland started 2013 off by legalizing same-sex marriage on Jan. 1. On April 23, France legalized same-sex marriage and adoption. Rhode Island, Delaware and Minnesota all followed quickly. And after several Brazilian states independently legalized same-sex marriage earlier this year, the Brazilian federal government passed a law making same-sex marriage legal throughout the nation.
Hillary Clinton Announced Support for Same-Sex Marriage
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who vocally supported DOMA in the years after her husband signed it into law, publicly reversed her position on gay marriage. Her announcement seemed particularly significant in that it came shortly before the Supreme Court heard arguments for and against DOMA, and in light of the fact that many believe she will run for president in 2016.
Supreme Court Heard DOMA Arguments
On March 26 and 27, the Supreme Court heard arguments regarding DOMA. No decision has been made yet, but to have the law reconsidered by the highest constitutional authorities is a historic moment.
Jason Collins Came Out
As the buzz about gay athletes reached a fever pitch, amid speculation that the first male professional athlete in a major team sport would come out soon, Jason Collins stepped up. The 7”, 255 lbs. NBA player known for his intelligence, aggressiveness on the court and 12-season career will provide many Americans with a fresh vision of the contemporary athlete.
A Few People Remembered Another Gay Athlete
Shortly after Jason Collins was hailed as the first openly gay male actively playing in a major American team sport, we got a history lesson about Glenn Burke, a 1970s baseball player whose promising career ground to a halt as he was gradually outed. At the peak of his career, Burke batted .303, went to the World Series with the Dodgers and invented the high-five — no, seriously, he invented the high five. Why haven’t we been celebrating this guy for the last 30 years?
California Passed Transgender Anti-Discrimination Laws
The state of California recently passed three laws intended to prevent discrimination against transgender people. The state now legally requires health insurance companies to allow transgender people the same treatment as anyone else and requires public schools to allow transgender participation in sports and equal access to bathrooms and locker rooms. The state also allows transgender citizens to legally change their names without appearing in court.
The Boy Scouts Lifted Their Ban
The National Council of the Boy Scouts of America voted 60-40 to overturn their ban on gay scouts, although they will continue to prohibit gay adults from leading troops.
Although the past year has seen great strides in the march towards equality for the LGBT community, there is still more progress to be made. Here’s to an even brighter, more equitable tomorrow!
UPDATE: Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA and Proposition 8
As of 10:00 am on the morning of, June 26, 2013, we are proud to report a tremendous victory for the LGBT community. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has announced their ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), finding the act unconstitutional in a vote of 5 to 4. The Supreme Court has also struck down Proposition 8, the controversial law that prevented same-sex couples from marrying in California.